“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”
Psalm 51: 8
New International Version
“Why God Loved David” Part XIII
“Be not wise in thine own eyes, fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
Proverbs 3: 7, 8
King James Version
How is my physical health related to my spiritual health?
Have I ever felt that my physical suffering was brought on as a punishment from God?
How does this belief affect my view of my heavenly Father?
“The whole point of this life is the healing of the heart’s eye through which God is seen.”
Augustine of Hippo
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”
There is a reason that for the past two days we have studied about what it means for you and me to have a “covenant” with our heavenly Father. It is because it has helped us take time to reflect on what it means to have a Father whose bond with us is solid. His word is true. And what He says will come to pass does.
It is with this clear knowledge that we take a second look at the words recorded in Psalm 51:8 where we find David asking his Father to infuse his life again with heavenly joy. David wanted the relationship he once had with his Father to be restored. In Psalm 23, the David who wrote the touching words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” was not the same person spiritually or emotionally who ordered his trusted army captain, Joab to “Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die” (II Samuel 11: 15, K.J.V.). Believe me, David knew his life was in terrible shape and this is why he told God, “I want my old joy back. I want the happiness You and I once had to fill my life again.”
But then David went on to pen some words that are probably difficult for all of us to read. David asked God to bring healing to his crushed bones – the ones God had fractured – at least at first glance this is how this text appears to read.
For those of us who have suffered from the pain caused by broken bones, frankly this text is tough to comprehend. And so, I’ve spent some time looking at Psalm 51: 8 and I’d like to share some of the thoughts I’ve gleaned from my time in God’s word, specifically studying the last half of Psalm 51:8.
I find it rather revealing that many of the Bible commentaries I use as resources appeared to shy away from taking on this rather difficult passage in the Bible. I don’t find fault with that because the topic of human suffering, and heaven’s response to it, is one that has been argued, debated and written about throughout the ages.
Here in Psalm 51: 8, we find David pleading with God to put joy back in his heart because, he tells God, if He will do this, “The bones which Thou hast broken will rejoice.” I must say I don’t find this statement that odd, for on those days when I am in severe pain and my spirit is sagging, the more depressed I find myself, often the more pain I seem to have. With his life in tatters, David told God that since joy had left his heart, his bones felt crushed and his whole body ached.
Now to better understand this text’s meaning, I found one commentary which referred me to Psalm 6 where David wrote these words: “O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasen me in Thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed” (Psalm 6: 1,2, K.J.V.).
There are two important points we can uncover from this passage which also relates to Psalm 51: 8.
First, God was obviously not happy with David’s wayward life and David knew it. Second, because at that time in history, illness, pain and physical trauma were seen as a direct hit by God to the individual, the sicker you were and the more in pain you were, the more evil you were perceived to be. This news doesn’t make me feel too good. As my husband Jim once said to me after our car accident, “If God punishes a person with illness and pain because they are evil, we must be the worst.” And with over 40 broken bones each, we must have been on God’s super-duper punishment list – maybe right at the top of it if you were to have such a false idea of our gracious heavenly Father.
However, here’s a problem with this kind of faulty thinking. There are just too many bad people in this world who apparently skip through their days without a single worry. And then, there are those Godly people who are living their lives within the will of their Father and a flood washes away their home or a tornado kills their family or cancer takes the life of their young wife and they did nothing at all to deserve the tragic plight of disaster.
So what David tells us, and then his son Solomon reiterates in Proverbs 3: 7 & 8, is that by loving, holding in awe and respecting our heavenly Father’s word and way, heavenly joy will bring health to the “marrow of our bones.” Please let me be clear, I still needed surgery to help put all my fractured bones together again. But it was, and is to this very day, the joy of the Lord that gets me through the very longest and most painful days. And to be quite honest with you, without the joy from my Father above, I don’t have any idea how I’d survive. It would be too tough and that’s what David told God. He said, “Without Your joy, my broken bones are too weak to hold me up. I can’t make it without You.” The fact is, none of us can!
But there’s one more insight that I found in the book of Malachi which helps me traverse each day, no matter what staggering calamity comes my way. In Malachi 4: 1 & 2, there is a very interesting text. However, we often read only Malachi 4: 2 when we are talking about healing for it offers this beautiful promise from the Lord Almighty, “For you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.”
Here’s the most critical part of this text though. Malachi 4: 1 begins by talking about the end of time. This is a purifying time when the earth is made new by our Father. Speaking of this time, which we look forward to, Thomas Moore said: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
For those children of God who find the pain and brokenness of this earth to be unbearable on some days, our Father, whose covenant with us is eternal and whose word is true, promises that His joy will not only infuse our lives on earth each step of the way but that an eternity of total healing and wholeness awaits us! I can hardly wait!
“One breath of paradise will extinguish all the adverse winds of earth.”
A. W. Pink
“Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.
What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ‘twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.”
Annie Johnson Flint
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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